A Call for Help – Fate Accelerated Arb Gulch 1876, Western RPG

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RPGs and Comic Books: The Recurring Villain
There is only one rule! Trials and triumphs of a full-time nerd in a part-time world

Some of you may have watched some of the Tabletop Roleplaying Games (TRPGs) I have run for the Nerdarchy Primarchs Ted, Ryan, Dave and Nate in New Jersey.

What you have not seen are the TRPGs I run for a great crew of Pennsylvania players (known as Perpetual Arc, for PA). Here is a list of campaigns I have run for Perpetual Arc.

  • Dungeons & Dragons 5E – Darsa’s Charge
  • Fantasy Flight Games Star Wars – A Far Flung Star
  • Fate Accelerated – DC Marvel Merge
  • Fate Accelerated – Star Wars Rogue Squadron
  • Dragonlance Fifth Age – The Dying Wizard

One of the players in Perpetual Arc is Bill McManus. He is a particularly engaged player and he does a great job of playing with intensity and steadfastly aligning his player choices with the actions you would fully believe the characters he has crafted would make. After a successful session of Fate Accelerated DC Marvel Merge (in which Poison Ivy was killed by Doctor Doom), Bill asked me to run a special Fate Accelerated game. Bill requested I run Fate Accelerated Western. A TRPG not set in a genre world, but a TRPG set in our own American History during the days of Gunslingers and Native American Warriors. Bill said he was requesting this because after seeing Fate Accelerated’s fast storytelling and flexibility, he felt the system could bring this fascinating time to life for Perpetual Arc.


This request was both exciting and daunting. While I have run many campaigns, this will be the first campaign where there is no cleric to heal the player characters, no nano-technology healing spray to instantly seal a blade slice, no bacta tanks to heal a player character while floating. Also, I will have some boundaries around what is and is not appropriate to include in the game based on the technology available at the time. I am also somewhat concerned with how to craft an exciting story and at the same time fairly represent the cultural impacts that were being felt in those days by Chinese rail workers, African slaves and Native Americans whose land was being systematically taken from them.

In this article, I will be detailing my plans for the game for you as well as giving you a view of the players. My question to you, Nerdarchy Community, is how do I approach this game? How do I fulfill the request of a dedicated player and at the same time explore our American history in a way that is true and meaningful? If you have a moment, I would greatly appreciate your feedback in the comments section.

Fate Accelerated Tabletop Roleplaying Game – Arb Gulch 1876

Game AttributesFeaturing Garibay RPG-O-Vision (a 48’ big screen for Game Details and Map+Miniature Emulation in front of two gaming tables with free WiFi and power to accommodate player-brought laptops). All players physically gathered in a comfortable living room (not online).

Setting Pure American Western (e.g. 310 to Yuma, True Grit, Unforgiven). Set in Arb Gulch, Arizona, in 1876. Arb Gulch is located 20 miles from North of Tombstone, Arizona (where the Gunfight at the OK Corral occurred in 1881).

Arb Gulch

Game Agents

  • Gamemaster (J. Scott Garibay)
  • Player (Bill McManus) — Player is the genesis of this Fate Accelerated Wester TRPG, Character Detail Below
  • Player (Michael Rovinski) — Player may be known to Nerdarchy fans from his play as a Human Jedi Warrior in the FFG Star Wars – After the Force Awakens TRPG as well as article coverage right here on the Nerdarchy website of his Fantasy Flight Games Star Wars Old Republic TRPG, Character Race and Class TBD
  • Player (Ed Jordan) — Player is coming over from a later session of Michael Rovinski’s Fantasy Flight Games Star Wars Old Republic TRPG
  • Player Dominic — Player is an Expert-Level Gundam Model Kit Builder having built over 100 kits (J. Scott Garibay is one of his students, whose unfiled and slipshod builds brings only shame to Dominic’s generously shared, unique style of Gundam Model Kit Building), Character Race and Class TBD
  • Player Ted — Player is an avid Trading Card Game Player with experience in Magic: The Gathering and Pokemon, Character Race and Class TBD
  • Player Ryan — Player has an encyclopedic knowledge of American Baseball Statistics, Character Race and Class TBD
  • Player Alyssa — Player is a dedicated cosplayer, bringing characters from all walks of Nerd fandom to life with attention to detail (in crafting her own unique outfits), creativity and confidence, Character Race and Class TBD

Arb Gulch

Character Creation Directive (Civil War Standing)

All players were directed to create a player character with any Western archetype they choose as long as the player had a clear idea of that player character’s standing during the Civil War. Players were directed to know which side their character fought for (or did not fight for). The proximity (time-wise) to the game year (1876) means the player characters’ Civil War disposition will determine many aspect of the game for them.

Bill McManus’s Player Character

Name – Nelly Thompson

High Concept – Former slave turned bounty hunter
Trouble –  Being a black woman in 1876, let alone being a black woman bounty hunter. She also has a “short fuse’ when it comes to her height.
Aspect: Deadeye
Aspect: Former ranch hand

Careful: +3
Quick: +2
Forceful: +2
Clever: +1
Flashy: +1
Sneaky: +0

Mike Rovinksi’s Player Character

Name – Doc

High Concept – Grizzled Frontiersman
Trouble – Bear slashed throat, was cauterized with gunpowder. Rumbling voice.

Featured Game Elements

  • NPC Blake Abernath Human (Male), Founder of Abernath Rail, Wife Victoria
  • NPC William O’Flannon Human (Male), Irish overseer of 600 Chinese Rail Workers
  • NPC Jeremiah Sloane Human (Male), Gunslinger
  • NPC Marianne Belloch Human (Female), Writer, Yale Graduate, Strong-willed and intelligent
  • NPC Hirshel Raush Human (Male), Optometrist
  • NPC Cecilia Cathermel Human (Female), Schoolmarm
  • Group Native American Tribes – Hopi, Palute, Apache, Tohono, Navajo, Pima, Yaqui and Havasupai

Closing Notes

This is positioned to be unique game, but I am concerned about the complexity of running a TRPG in a straight, non-genre setting, and any advice the Nerdarchy Community can give will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.


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2 Responses

  1. Ty Johnston
    | Reply

    Those cultural impacts you mentioned are generally ignored by many Western films (including those you listed), but if you are interested in some which do, I’ll suggest: Jeremiah Johnson, The Outlaw Josey Wales, Dancing With Wolves, Glory, Little Big Man, just to name a few.

    • Scott Garibay
      | Reply

      Many thanks. I will jump into watching these and see how they approach it.

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